skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, April 19, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

NC leaders discuss alternatives to criminal-justice fees

play audio
Play

Monday, October 30, 2023   

The burden of criminal justice fees can be financially devastating for many individuals. From speeding tickets to court costs, those involved in the legal system often find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt.

The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice is searching for ways to alleviate the burden and prevent further harm. The group recently held a discussion to talk about the steps being taken in North Carolina and what others are doing to find alternatives to fees and fines.

Annie Hudson-Price, senior counsel in the Office for Access to Justice for the U.S. Department of Justice, joined the conversation and highlighted the detrimental effects of an inability to pay.

"If you're low income, it can mean choosing between paying the fines and fee or feeding your children and paying rent," Hudson-Price pointed out. "If you fail to pay the fine or fee, the ramifications, both direct and indirect, can escalate incredibly quickly."

She explained consequences such as losing driver's licenses, having wages garnished, or unnecessarily being sent to jail can ultimately hinder individuals' ability to repay their debt in the long term, posing the question, "Is this an effective method of government funding?" She noted some places such as New Orleans, New Mexico and Dane County, Wisconsin have taken steps to abolish fines and fees for juveniles.

Hudson-Price also mentioned other measures, such as income-based payment plans and rehabilitative community service. She also suggested possible actions outside of legislation.

"One of the major contributions I think that are being made is data collection and institutional transparency," Hudson-Price explained. "It is impossible to take meaningful steps towards reducing reliance and fines and fees and addressing the harms without first understanding what is actually happening in a given jurisdiction."

In a 2020 report, the task force also recommended the Supreme Court of North Carolina pass a General rule of Practice to require assessing a person's ability to pay before imposing any fines and fees.

Disclosure: Just Trust contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
more stories
The Bureau of Land Management's newly issued Public Lands Rule is designed to safeguard cultural resources such as New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Park. (Photo courtesy SallyPaez)

Environment

play sound

Balancing the needs of the many with those who have traditionally reaped benefits from public lands is behind a new rule issued Thursday by the Bureau…


Health and Wellness

play sound

Alzheimer's disease is the eighth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania. A documentary on the topic debuts Saturday in Pittsburgh. "Remember Me: …

Social Issues

play sound

April is Financial Literacy Month, when the focus is on learning smart money habits but also how to protect yourself from fraud. One problem on the …


Outdoor recreation added $11.7 million to the Arizona economy in 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Arizona conservation groups and sportsmen alike say they're pleased the Bureau of Land Management will now recognize conservation as an integral part …

play sound

Across the U.S., most political boundaries tied to the 2020 Census have been in place for a while, but a national project on map fairness for …

The 2023 Annie E. Casey Foundation Data Book ranked Arkansas 37th in the nation for education, and said 56% of young children were not in preschool programs to help get them ready for school. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

The need for child care and early learning is critical, especially in rural Arkansas. One nonprofit is working to fill those gaps by giving providers …

Environment

play sound

An annual march for farmworkers' rights is being held Sunday in northwest Washington. This year, marchers are focusing on the conditions for local …

Social Issues

play sound

A new Gallup and Lumina Foundation poll unveils a concerning reality: Hoosiers may lack clarity about the true cost of higher education. The survey …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021